Yoga: Origin and Health Benefits

July 27, 2021

Origin

Yoga is an activity that connects the mind, body, and soul of a person to enhance enlightenment and peace of mind. Therefore, the origin of yoga is complicated, such that there is massive uncertainty as a result of the way in which the verbal transmissions concerning the sacred texts were made in addition to secretive yoga teachings. Ancient yoga writings were done on weak palm leaves, thus got easily destroyed and even lost. Therefore, the origin of the yoga activity can be traced back to five thousand years ago, and the period can be grouped into the ancient era, after-antiquity period, modern, and post-antiquity period yoga. In ancient yoga, the activity got invented by the Indus-Sarasvati, who lived in the northern part of India. Besides, the yoga word was first used in the Rig Veda, which is the ancient sacred text used by the Brahmans and priests of the community made up of songs, rituals, and mantras. The practices of yoga were slowly improved by the priests and brahmans such that they wrote these beliefs in Upanishads that contained more than two hundred scriptures.  Therefore, these individuals borrowed the sacrificial idea from the Veda people and began to teach it through karma yoga which entailed actions, knowledge, and jnana yoga that dealt with wisdom.

In addition, classical yoga was generated due to contradicting mixture of various concepts, techniques, and traditional practices with the region. In this period of yoga invention, the activities were planned into eight-limbed paths by the famous Patanjali, who is believed to be the raja yoga father. Hence, through the organized method of conducting classical yoga, one could attain any enlightenment that they were looking for. Nonetheless, the post-classical period is when the yoga elites developed a practical system that was meant to energize the body to reduce the mortality rate of people in the country. The creation of the new system was due to the rejection that these masters had concerning the mentality and practices that the Vedas did. The masters thus believed that the body is the only source of enlightenment to one’s life, thus creating the tantra yoga accompanied by various body and mind cleansing activities. In addition, this group of yoga elites found a connection between the physical and spiritual life resulting in the emergence of hatha yoga.

Lastly, it is the modern yoga period that existed between the 1800s and the 1900s. Within this period, there was a lot of traveling among the yoga masters to the western side of the world, such as Chicago, that facilitated the massive growth of Hatha yoga in India through the help of Swami Sivananda and T. Krishnamacharya. Besides, Krishnamacharya’s kind of dedication towards yoga made him start the first Hath yoga learning institution in 1924 at Mysore, where he produced three learners that continued with his legacy of spreading yoga. On the other hand, Sivananda began a divine life society in 1936 at the Ganges river banks, where he produced numerous books that were over two hundred in number since he was an author, established ashrams and yoga centers globally. As a result of this commitment, numerous western and Indian instructors have become pioneers of hatha yoga and are still popularizing the activity, thus earning more followers as days go by.

 Types of Yoga

Various yoga styles that one can undertake. Even though they have different names, some yoga activities have similar goals, and thus they can be done within one session. Therefore, these types of yoga include kundalini yoga which focuses on stimulating one’s energy to reduce stress as well as any negative thoughts. Hence, in kundalini yoga, a person gets to pose a challenge in their mind and body through meditations, singing, chanting, and kriyas. Vinyasa yoga which is also known as flow yoga entails blending of breath and synchronized movement. Through this activity, a person gets to bring out a calm nervous system and mind even though intense dynamic workouts are involved. Another type of yoga is the famous Hatha. Hatha is made in a way that it brings out a balance in opposing forces, for instance, flexibility and strength, breathe and body, and physical and mental energy. Hence, this yoga focuses more on one’s concentration and adherence than the introduction of unnecessary force to a person’s body.

Ashtanga yoga is made up of six poses taught systematically and is a combination of spiritual and physical components. Besides, during ashtanga yoga, no music is played. In Yin yoga, some ideas are borrowed from martial arts where one has to hold a pose for a minimum of one minute and a maximum of five minutes. The goal of yin exercise is to relax various parts of the body such as the hips, thighs, and lower back so as to enhance flexibility in an individual. Iyengar yoga is the least intense type of yoga, thus suitable for all ages. Bikram yoga has a series of poses just like ashtanga, although there are strict rules that have to be adhered to with this one. For example, every lesson must be held for ninety minutes with twenty-six postures, have two breathing activities, and the room should be one-hundred-and-five degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, participants tend to become more flexible within a short period of attending this form of yoga and lose a lot of weight.

Moreover, there is power yoga which is done at a faster pace than other types of yoga. This yoga aims to promote muscle strength as well as increase flexibility among participants. Sivananda yoga is a branch of hatha yoga. With this type of yoga, many relaxing tactics are used, such as breathing techniques, salutations of the sun, and the basic asanas; thus, is appropriate for all age groups interested in taking part. Restorative yoga entails the use of props in supporting the body and the kind of poses that are done last not less than five minutes. As a result, there are those who fall into sleep, something that is allowed in these sessions. Hence, this yoga offers complete relaxation and rejuvenates a person, especially athletes.

There is also prenatal yoga that is used for pregnant mothers in order to relieve stress, exercise in preparation for the coming of the newborn, and enhance self-care. Ariel yoga which is also known as anti-gravity yoga is a new method of yoga exercise that focuses on making one perform inverted poses such as the headstands; thus, it possesses a physical challenge to the general body but also promotes relaxation. Lastly, Acro yoga combines various poses from other yoga in a fun way since a partner is added in those movements where a pair is made up of the base and the flyer. Therefore, through Acro, people are able to break their comfort zones and find a particular connection with their partners.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is essential in one’s life due to the numerous benefits that come along with it. These benefits include improving flexibility, strength, and balance. When one gets to have slow intense movements, they get to increase blood flow. Thus, yoga enhances strength and healthy organs that bring out effective balance and flexibility. Yoga relieves back pains through the numerous stretches that are involved in the exercise. In addition, yoga can eradicate the emergence of arthritis and even ease some of the symptoms of the disease to a person who is already suffering from it. Yoga has proven to lessen some of the pain and discomfort brought by arthritis, such as the tender joints due to the swelling. Besides, this type of exercise strengthens the heart by reducing levels of stress and any inflammation that might be present, thus curbing the possibility of infections such as high blood pressure. Nevertheless, yoga uplifts one mood and alertness, leading to better social life and better sleep. Also, yoga promotes effective management of any form of stress as well as promotes better self-care where one gets to appreciate themselves through the self-confidence that is developed during the yoga classes. Therefore, yoga is an essential sport in today’s life globally.

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